Chelsea coach Thomas Tuchel has revealed N'Golo Kante will miss Wednesday's Champions League clash with Juventus after testing positive for coronavirus.

The France international made his sixth appearance of the season on Saturday when playing an hour of Chelsea's 1-0 defeat to Manchester City in the Premier League.

However, Kante has since contracted COVID-19 and will serve a period of isolation, ruling him out of the Blues' European tie with Juve and league clash with Southampton ahead of the international break.

Speaking at a pre-match news conference on Tuesday, Tuchel also confirmed Christian Pulisic, Reece James and Mason Mount will not make the trip to Turin because of injury problems.

Juventus will also be without some key players at the Allianz Stadium as Paulo Dybala and former Chelsea striker Alvaro Morata have been ruled out.

The Turin giants were in the relegation zone after picking up just two points from their first four Serie A matches, but back-to-back wins have lifted them up to 10th.

Massimiliano Allegri's side also saw off Malmo 3-0 in their opening Champions League match two weeks ago to make it 11 wins in their past 12 group-stage matches.

Despite losing Cristiano Ronaldo to Manchester United last month, Tuchel is still expecting a big test when Chelsea travel to Turin.

"They are so experienced and such a big club with so much Champions League experience," he said.

"They will enjoy the different competition. They have had a bit of a rough start according to their results in Serie A, but they were convincing in the Champions League.

"You never know with players that are missing. The guys who come in want to show they are reliable. We play Juventus at Juventus.

"It's a no-brainer that demands respect to the quality and tradition of the club. 

"We need to refocus and regroup and face a tough challenge with positive energy and determination to bounce back from our defeat to Manchester City."

Ronaldo scored 101 goals in 134 appearances for Juve across his three seasons at the club before returning to United, 14 of those goals coming in the Champions League.

Only six other players scored more goals in the competition than Ronaldo over that period, but Tuchel does not believe the Portuguese's surprise exit hinders Juve's chances of European success, even if they are now a weaker side.

"Time will tell, but every team without Cristiano is weaker. He shows it every time he is on the pitch, in the Premier League and in the Champions League," Tuchel said. 

"They have lost a great champion, a great personality, but you can be a great team and win things, too, even without him. 

"And they are. They have experience, talent, depth and a quality coach. They have winning DNA, the winning mentality.

"This is the first time I've played against Juventus. I will face a team of our level and these challenges make us a better team. "

Chelsea have lost each of their past four away games against Italian teams in the Champions League, with each defeat coming against a different side – including Juve in 2012-13.

The Blues scraped past Zenit 1-0 in their opening Group H match but, as reigning European champions, Tuchel accepts his side no longer enter any game as underdogs.

"It is difficult for that to be the case when you've won the title," the German coach said. "We won this competition last season when we weren't favourites.

"Now it's easy to consider ourselves as favourites and to accept that. We've won it before. We have showed all of our abilities.

"We need to play with freedom but also be realistic. The standards are high for us and hopefully the performances and results arrive step by step."

Thomas Tuchel saw his tactical switch fail as Chelsea lost 1-0 at home to Manchester City in the Premier League, and he admitted: "Maybe this is on me." 

Chelsea's unbeaten start to the season ended at Stamford Bridge, where Gabriel Jesus struck early in the second half to make the difference. 

Head coach Tuchel sent out Chelsea with three defensive midfielders and lined up Romelu Lukaku alongside Timo Werner from the start of a game for the first time in attack. 

With three centre-backs and defenders running the flanks, it meant Chelsea were found wanting when it came to creativity, as City took revenge for their defeat to Tuchel's men in May's Champions League final. 

"We lost the game and I think City deserved to win," Tuchel told BT Sport. 

"Until the goal, we were very, very strong in the last 20 metres of the field [Chelsea's defensive area], but only there unfortunately, and in the 80 metres left we were not good enough to escape pressure, to have ball possession, and not only ball possession to breathe but ball possession to switch play and to hurt them and to grow in confidence. 

"Until then, we defended very well the box and the goal, it was excellent, but this was the only part of the match. 

"The performance was not complex enough, it was overall not on our very best level, and you need your best level to push a game like this to your side." 

Chelsea had only 40 per cent of the ball, but that was also the case in the Champions League final where they made better use of their possession, showing a greater incisiveness. 

Rodri's inclusion allowed City's creative players to rampage at times, as his defensive qualities helped to shield a defence who encountered few midfield runners. 

Chelsea had goalkeeper Edouard Mendy for keeping the score down, as he pulled off two big saves to deny Jack Grealish. 

Former Manchester United and England defender Rio Ferdinand, working as a television pundit at the game, described the result as "a 1-0 beating". 

"Chelsea didn't at any time look part of the game, look like a team who could get anything out of it," Ferdinand said. 

"City dominated in all areas: the intensity, the press, the possession, the chances on goal. If Mendy doesn't play today, they [Chelsea] probably concede three or four." 

Tuchel also recognised his Chelsea side got what they deserved. 

"In general, we can accept it because it was not our best game," Tuchel said of the defeat. 

"Even if we wanted to go for long balls for Romelu, it was not precise enough. I did not feel the belief that we could really escape with short balls, I did not really feel 100 per cent the belief that if we play long balls that we believe in it. 

"We lacked a little bit of freshness and energy. Maybe this is on me, maybe not the very best choices today, but OK." 

It was almost as though Thomas Tuchel was trolling Pep Guardiola, picking three defensive midfielders and two strikers. 

Guardiola had paid a high price for leaving his water carriers out of May's Champions League final battle between these teams. On Friday, he pointedly stressed he would not complain about his squad, yet also acknowledged City lacked a lethal finisher in the mould of a Romelu Lukaku. 

But this was a day when Guardiola resoundingly won the tactical battle, inflicting a first defeat of the season on Tuchel's Chelsea, ending City's sequence of three successive defeats to the men in royal blue. 

Chelsea had last enjoyed a longer run of wins against City when they strung eight together from December 2005 to March 2009, the balance of power in English football being very different in that period. 

Now City are champions of the Premier League and have been so five times in the last 10 seasons, and, A-list striker or no A-list striker, they might just pull it off again. 

Tuchel put an inordinate level of trust in the Lukaku and Timo Werner frontline combination working, as they began a game together for the first time. That smacked of cavalier coaching, an uncalled-for tactical shift in the biggest match of Chelsea's season so far, disrupting the system that last week delivered a ruthless 3-0 win at Tottenham. 

By sacrificing a midfield berth, Chelsea could not compete with City in that area, and duly the supply to Lukaku and Werner was hopelessly inadequate. 

And how did the Lukaku-Werner combination work out across the 90 minutes? Werner played one pass that found his new £97.5million team-mate, and Lukaku did not find the German with the ball at all. 

The midfields were silk and sandpaper, City with all the finesse and Chelsea the industry, but whereas City had a little snap too, with Rodri selected in the anchor role, Chelsea were woefully short of invention, utterly reliant on their full-backs pushing forward. They wanted to strong-arm their way to victory, and instead their limitations were laid bare. 

"Champions of Europe, we know what we are", sang the Chelsea fans at kick-off, followed by "Champions of Europe, you'll never sing that". 

Their songs soon fell flat. 

Guardiola left Rodri and Fernandinho out of his Champions League team, when at least one of them had played in 59 of City's 60 games up to that point of the 2020-21 season, and Chelsea got the better of a team lacking its usual steel. 

It was a decision that felt over-thought, Guardiola outwitting himself in his eagerness to surprise Chelsea. But Rodri was back here, helping to shield a defence that might have expected a busier afternoon. 

Of course N'Golo Kante started for Chelsea, after his starring role against City in that European showpiece, but did Chelsea really need both Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic alongside him, leaving Kai Havertz, goal hero of the May final in Porto, and Hakim Ziyech on the bench? No ship requires three active anchors, and their inclusion suggested Tuchel had gone overboard. 

Chelsea had just 33.3 per cent of first-half possession, and that figure was bolstered by them seeing more of the ball in the final 10 minutes, having been under 30 per cent until then. 

City had six shots to Chelsea's one by the break, and the visitors were winning 56.3 per cent of the duels, Rodri finding his man with 41 of 42 passes by the break, also winning possession seven times, more than anyone. 

Come full-time, City led 15-5 on shots, 4-0 on shots on target, Rodri had completed 74 of his 78 passes (94.9 per cent) and finished with a team-high 10 possession wins. His presence was colossal, allowing the likes of Kevin De Bruyne, Jack Grealish and Phil Foden to rampage. 

Guardiola said City would "do it as a group" as they aim to come up with the goals a world-class striker might score. He missed out on Harry Kane and Cristiano Ronaldo, but in Gabriel Jesus he has a Brazil international who might just fancy showing his boss he can be a 20-goal hitman again. 

Chelsea were undone in the 53rd minute when Joao Cancelo's shot after a short-corner move only ran as far as Jesus, who turned sharply and fired, with the help of a deflection of Jorginho, into the bottom left corner. 

That was the first shot to hit the target in the match, Opta said, and there was almost a second City goal moments later when Grealish sidestepped Cesar Azpilicueta on the left and curled towards the far post, with Edouard Mendy's fingertips pushing the ball wide for a corner. 

Thiago Silva cleared off the line from Jesus, then Mendy denied Grealish late on as City pushed for the second goal they surely deserved. 

Chelsea had just 39.62 per cent of possession in the Champions League final but dominated the chances there, with an expected goals (xG) total of 1.45 to City's 0.45 reflecting their greater threat in the final third. 

Here, it was City with 1.45 xG against Chelsea's paltry 0.2, Guardiola getting one over the team who have given him plenty of anguish over the years, inflicting eight defeats, more than any other against a Pep side. 

Guardiola's players celebrated with their fans, who included Oasis' Noel Gallagher, tossing shirts into the crowd, knowing this time they and their coach had implemented a master plan. 

Gabriel Jesus scored the only goal as Manchester City beat Chelsea 1-0 at Stamford Bridge to move level on points with their Premier League title rivals.

City lost three times to Chelsea in the space of six weeks at the end of last season, including in the Champions League final, but Pep Guardiola finally got the better of Thomas Tuchel in Saturday's contest.

After dominating the first half without managing to test returning Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy, the visitors opened the scoring eight minutes after the restart through a heavily deflected Jesus shot.

That sparked the game into life as City missed two big chances and Romelu Lukaku had a goal ruled out, though Jesus' strike proved to be the difference as top-flight champions City inflicted a first defeat of the season on European champions Chelsea.

Tuchel shifted from his usual 3-4-3 to a 3-5-2 to accommodate Timo Werner and Lukaku up top for the first time and Chelsea struggled to get going.

All City had to show for their dominance of possession in a quiet first half, though, was a sliced Jesus shot at the back post after being found by Phil Foden.

Guardiola's side picked up from where they left off in the second half and opened the scoring with the game's first attempt on target.

Joao Cancelo's long-range effort hit Jesus and the Brazil striker took over with a shot on the turn that flicked off Jorginho on its way past a wrong-footed Mendy.

Mendy pulled off a fine low save to help Jack Grealish's shot past the post and substitute Thiago Silva blocked Jesus' drive on the line as City pressed for a second.

Those missed chances almost came back to haunt City when Lukaku tapped the ball into the net at the other end, but Kai Havertz was offside in the build-up and it was ruled out.

Chelsea desperately went in search of a leveller, yet the best of the remaining opportunities fell to City's Grealish, the midfielder again denied by Mendy when through on goal.

Thomas Tuchel has partnered Timo Werner and Romelu Lukaku in the Chelsea attack from the start for the first time for the visit of Manchester City, who have a number of stars back fit.

Chelsea head into Saturday's Premier League clash at Stamford Bridge top of the table, three points ahead of champions City.

The Blues have beaten City in all three meetings since Tuchel took charge – including the Champions League final – and are looking to become the first side to defeat Pep Guardiola in four consecutive matches.

But Tuchel has mixed things up for this game, shifting from his usual 3-4-3 to a 3-5-2 formation, including N'Golo Kante, Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic in central midfield after the trio excelled in the second half of last week's 3-0 win at Tottenham.

Most notably, that switch has created space for Werner in the front line next to record signing Lukaku.

Werner assisted Antonio Rudiger's strike at Spurs and then scored in the midweek EFL Cup tie against Aston Villa, as he aims to build on a disappointing 2020-21 campaign in which his 12 goals hugely underperformed his 21.1 expected goals.

The Germany forward and Lukaku have only previously played 61 minutes together so far in all competitions, although Chelsea have netted two goals and conceded none in that time.

Thiago Silva – outstanding at Tottenham – only made Tuchel's bench, but Edouard Mendy was passed fit to start in goal, facing an attack-minded City line-up.

Kevin De Bruyne and Phil Foden each came in for their first league starts of the season, yet it was Gabriel Jesus – playing from the right in the early stages of the campaign – who looked set to lead the line.

Guardiola had named a different midfield for all three prior meetings with Tuchel's Chelsea in 2021 but has reverted back to Rodri, who started the league defeat.

In a familiar 4-3-3, Aymeric Laporte was also cleared to line up alongside Ruben Dias.

Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel says Manchester City remain the benchmark for his side in their pursuit of the Premier League title ahead of Saturday's meeting at Stamford Bridge.

The sides will face off for the first time since May's Champions League final at Estadio do Dragao in Portugal, which Chelsea won 1-0 through a Kai Havertz goal.

The Blues have now won their last three meetings with City, doing so in three different competitions in the space of six weeks at the end of last season.

Chelsea have carried that form into the 2021-22 campaign with seven wins and a draw to their name in all competitions.

They are joint-top of the league and are three points better off than City, but Tuchel believes the reigning champions remain the side to beat if they are to finish top this term. 

"It's a six-pointer between two teams who are rivals for the top four or the best outcome possible," Tuchel said at Friday's pre-match news conference.

"Any team can, of course, steal three points from a direct competitor. Does it change anything? No, but there's no need to play it down.

"We could play a draw, though. Things will be tough and I mean that. They are the benchmark for many years now and I am very happy we're able to produce this kind of performance and result consistently. 

"We need to prove we can deliver with the same consistency. City remain the benchmark. We have to stay hungry and close the gap. This is what we have to do for 90 minutes. It's a marathon, not a sprint."

None of the last 12 Premier League meetings between Chelsea and City have been drawn, with the Blues winning five to their opponents' seven.

Another victory for Tuchel's men this weekend would move them six points clear of City, but Tuchel acknowledged the title race still has a long way to go regardless of Saturday's result.

"We are aware of the situation but I don't think it will provide any extra motivation for us," he said. "If it was three games before the end of the season, maybe.

"We need to be at our best, best level and that does not change. This is what I feel and it's what is important. 

"In the last three matches against them, we isolated the situation and if we wanted to compete with them in a 50/50 match, we needed out top level.

"It doesn't matter how many points we have and they have. Tomorrow against Manchester City at Stamford Bridge, it's on. And we need to be fully on."

Tuchel added: "Let's be honest, if we win tomorrow we will not be champions and if City win tomorrow we will not be champions and we won't be in depression.

"It's an important match, a big match that we like to be involved in, and the situation we face this match is a good one because we feel ready for this kind of competition."

Tuchel confirmed he will be without Christian Pulisic and Mason Mount, the latter – who set up Havertz's winner in the Champions League final – sustaining a minor injury in the midweek EFL Cup penalty shoot-out win over Aston Villa.

"He is very disappointed and I didn't feel it during the last match because it was the second half and he played through the injury," Tuchel said.

"He finished the game, was confident to take an important penalty. So it was a surprise.The steps he is taking are huge. Maybe it was possible if the game was one day later. 

"So it's a minor injury but there is disappointment for him and us because he is a player that we count on. But no matter the importance, no matter how we rely on him, the task is to find solutions without him and bring him back as soon as possible."

Tuchel still has a number of other players to call upon in midfield and attack, yet arguably more intriguing will be the team opposite number Pep Guardiola fields.

The Catalan coach, often accused of overthinking his team selection in big matches, has failed to win all three encounters with Tuchel in English football.

Chelsea could become the first team to win four successive games against Guardiola in all competitions, though Tuchel has the utmost respect for the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss.

Asked if he believes he is a better coach than Guardiola, Tuchel said: "This question does not even exist for me and I can't answer it. 

"It's a question for you guys and you can endlessly debate. I am a huge admirer for the impact he had from his first day of his professional coaching.

"The impact at Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Manchester City, he has my biggest respect. 

"There is not reason to ask myself if I am a better coach. I do the best I can, I am in a place I am very happy, and I am a better coach today than yesterday."

Timo Werner said it was good to be back on the scoresheet after finding the back of the net for the first time this season in Chelsea's EFL Cup third-round triumph over Aston Villa.

Chelsea overcame Villa 4-3 on penalties at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday, with Reece James netting the decisive spot-kick following a 1-1 draw.

Werner – now in the shadow of star recruit Romelu Lukaku – opened the scoring in the 54th minute – only his fifth goal of 2021, though Villa's Cameron Archer equalised 10 minutes later midweek.

After scoring his first Chelsea goal since May's Champions League fixture against Real Madrid, Germany international Werner revelled in the performance.

"I feel good [hearing people sing my name]. It is good to be back on the scoresheet of course," Werner told Chelsea's Fifth Stand App.

"We needed to keep winning and get into the next round of the EFL Cup and we are happy with the game.

"A goal opens the game, the first half, both teams were passive and struggled with all their changes. I think when we scored in the second half we were under a lot of pressure and lost control, went to 1-1 and after that we showed a good reaction. We wanted to win in 90 minutes and were lucky to win on penalties."

Werner was not involved in the shoot-out and he explained his absence.

"First of all, I had pain in my calf and couldn't go out," Werner said. "When you have fit players on the pitch, it is better they shoot than I do today."

Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel – whose side will face Southampton in the fourth round – added: "We brought him into a situation where he can score, this is what we want, and then it's on him to score.

"That's why he is here. It's the best feeling for a striker to score."

Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel insists Kepa Arrizabalaga has nothing to prove as he backed the goalkeeper to continue making the most of his run in the side.

Kepa remains the most expensive keeper of all time after Chelsea paid £71million (€80m) to sign the Spain international from Athletic Bilbao in August 2018.

The 26-year-old struggled to justify that fee in his first two years at Stamford Bridge, however, and lost his place as first choice following Edouard Mendy's arrival 12 months ago.

But Kepa was handed a first start of the campaign last weekend with Mendy out injured and kept a clean sheet in Chelsea's 3-0 win over Tottenham.

He is expected to remain in goal for Wednesday's EFL Cup third-round tie against Aston Villa and Tuchel is glad to have such strong competition in the goalkeeping department.

"We have two super strong goalkeepers. Do we need them both? We had proof last weekend," Tuchel said. "He was a key factor to have a clean sheet at the weekend. 

"It is as easy as that. Whether the money is too high or low, these measurements don't matter to us. This pressure is off his shoulders and he deserves it to be off his shoulders.

"He seems happy to me, he may not be happy with the situation but he is happy with where he is at and the part he plays in the team.

"Everyone wants to play more minutes. We have contracts for 24 players including goalkeepers so we simply cannot give the same amount of minutes to everyone. 

"It's the same for the guys who play on the field but it is more dramatic for goalkeepers. That's because we don't change them during games so maybe it seems even harder.

"I feel an open guy, a humble guy, a super nice guy, a top, top professional sports guy who is a big part of this squad. I feel him happy. 

"Maybe he could be even happier with more minutes but I don't feel he is concerned at the moment because he is pushing and fighting for his chances.

"You can't force situations. I have a feeling with his mindset that he is here and he pushes with his calmness and positivity. He did not force it. 

"He doesn't have to prove to me that he is a good goalkeeper because I see it every day in training. 

"Maybe that's the point, that he does not try too hard to convince everybody that he is worth what the club paid.

"Who cares about what the club paid? So what. Money doesn't matter now. The question is whether we can afford to have him as a goalkeeper."

Kepa has made two appearances in total this campaign, having saved two penalties in last month's Super Cup win over Villarreal after being brought on as a late substitute.

The Spaniard has featured 111 times for Chelsea in all competitions, conceding 120 times and keeping 40 clean sheets across that period.

By comparison, Mendy has conceded 31 goals and has 29 shutouts from his first 50 appearances for the Blues.

Not only does Mendy concede fewer goals per 90 minutes than Kepa (0.62 compared to 1.09), he also boasts a better save percentage – 78.32 compared to 65.12.

Since making his Chelsea debut on September 29 last year, only Manchester City's Ederson (30) has kept more clean sheets than Mendy among keepers in Europe's top five leagues when taking all competitions into account.

With a huge Premier League clash against reigning champions City coming up on Saturday, Tuchel is hopeful that Mendy will be available for selection once again.

"I hope he will be back in team training on Thursday," the German coach said. "If it goes well, I hope he can be ready for Saturday but I don't know right now."

Timo Werner is "in a good way" ahead of Chelsea's EFL Cup tie against Aston Villa after taking "a big step forward" at Tottenham, Thomas Tuchel says.

Germany international Werner endured a difficult first season in England, although head coach Tuchel only arrived halfway through the campaign.

The former RB Leipzig forward was a regular, playing in 52 matches and making 44 starts across all competitions, as Chelsea won the Champions League.

But Werner's form in front of goal was repeatedly called into question as he hit the net just 12 times from 118 shots worth a combined 21.1 expected goals.

Converting just 10.2 per cent of his chances and scoring once every 319 minutes, this profligacy led to the Blues splashing out a club-record fee on Romelu Lukaku.

The arrival of Lukaku has restricted Werner to only two starts this term, although he did get his first assist of the season in Sunday's 3-0 win at Tottenham having come off the bench to partner the Belgium striker.

The wait for a first goal in 2021-22 goes on, but Werner is set to get an opportunity against Villa in the third round of the EFL Cup and has Tuchel's backing.

"He can play with Romelu, that is sure," Tuchel told a news conference. "He did very well in Tottenham, the last 25 minutes, 30 minutes of the match, that gave us a clear impression of how dangerous these two can also be together.

"There was some disappointment to brush off his shoulders from the Euros during the summer and from the first games.

"I think he was not happy with the performances in the beginning, and we were not absolutely happy, because we know that he can be much more dangerous and much more of an attacking threat than he was.

"But the stuff that you don't see... I see him in the last training sessions more relaxed, more fluid in his movements, with more confidence, and that's why we put him on earlier against Tottenham.

"We saw his development. There are clear signs he is in a good way, and I hope he can show and prove it tomorrow."

Werner had only one attempt of his own against Spurs, which Hugo Lloris saved, although he should have had another, played in by Lukaku but taking too long to shoot and allowing Emerson Royal to recover.

Lukaku wore a pained expression as the chance went begging, but Tuchel again took the positives from that incident.

"It shows also how Romelu is. It shows that he knows how a striker feels that lacks goals," he said.

"For me, the most important was that Timo was in better positions. We had him again in dangerous positions around Romelu, and he was not too far out on the pitch, he was actually in and around the box.

"He had his chances in the box, and later he had the assist, which was well done also within the box.

"This is more important, and more important is how he trains, not only in pure quality of training but also in the attitude. At the moment, he moves more free in his movements and his decision-making is with more confidence.

"Sometimes it needs time, and sometimes you don't have one particular reason why things look a bit more easy. Timo is in this moment, and hopefully he also can push himself now and keep this momentum going.

"Everybody is happy if he can show his skills in front of goal and can be dangerous, because this is what we want and this is why he's here: to be dangerous, to score goals, of course, and also to assist, to create more open spaces with aggressive runs.

"This was a big step forward in the last game against Tottenham."

Tuchel also suggested Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Saul Niguez could feature at home to Villa, as he gives "important minutes" to players who need them, but Edouard Mendy remains out.

Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel hailed N'Golo Kante after the Blues star came off the bench and scored in the 3-0 Premier League victory over Tottenham.

Kante, Thiago Silva and Antonio Rudiger were on target in the second half as Champions League holders Chelsea blew away London rivals Tottenham in Sunday's derby.

Silva opened the scoring four minutes into the second half before fit-again midfielder Kante doubled the lead approaching the hour mark, and Rudiger added a third in the second minute of stoppage time.

Three of Kante's last four Premier League goals have been scored from outside the box, after netting just one of his first seven in the competition from range.

Tuchel lauded the France international as Chelsea moved top of the Premier League on goal difference.

"If you have N'Golo [Kante] on the bench and you want to step up in exactly these patterns of the game, he's the best player to bring on because he's unique and he can change any momentum," Tuchel said.

"[With him] you have everything that you need in midfield: you have work rate, intensity, ball wins, skillful play. Off the ball, with the ball, dribbling, even a goal. I see this every day in training and it's hard to believe how good he is.

"He doesn't make faults and reduces the number of ball wins. He plays excellent in every possession game that we have in training. He's a unique guy and I have no words for him.

"We were strong in midfield together with Jorginho and [Mateo] Kovacic in the second half. N'Golo is N'Golo - fantastic."

Chelsea have won each of their last six away league London derbies – the club's longest such streak in their league history.

The Blues have only lost one of their 12 away games in the Premier League under Tuchel (W8 D3) – no Chelsea manager has lost fewer away games in their first 12 outings in the competition (level with Guus Hiddink and Jose Mourinho).

Thomas Tuchel was impressed with the way his Chelsea side reacted to some half-time home truths by blowing Tottenham away in a 3-0 London derby victory.

The Blues were second best in the first half at Tottenham Stadium after emotional pre-match tributes to Spurs, Chelsea and England legend Jimmy Greaves, who died at the age of 81 on Sunday.

Chelsea only registered one shot on target in the opening 45 minutes and Tottenham showed more intensity before Tuchel made his side well aware they must raise their game at the break.

The outstanding Thiago Silva headed the European champions in front four minutes into the second half and a deflected strike from the fit-again N'Golo Kante, who replaced Mason Mount at half-time, doubled their lead.

Spurs had no answer to the Blues and Antonio Rudiger compounded their misery by drilling home in stoppage time as Tuchel's men went top of the Premier League on goal difference.

Tuchel says Chelsea's first-half display was unacceptable but he was pleased with the manner in which they took control following the interval.

Asked if it was a game of two halves, he told Sky Sports: "Yes it was, you're absolutely right. I was absolutely not happy with the first 45 minutes.

"There were individual performances which were great in the first half from Kepa [Arrizabalaga] and Thiago Silva. Even more players were good but in general we lacked intent and energy in duels and 50-50 balls.

"I had the feeling we wanted to impress by pure skills but in derbies like this it is not always about just skills. It is about aggression, winning duels and performing better as a team.

"We spoke clearly about it at half-time. In the second half it was a very good performance and a deserved win in the second half. It was a very good reaction so I am happy with the performance in the second half."

Rudiger was late getting into the stadium after experiencing some technical difficulties with the coronavirus pass on his phone, and Tuchel felt that summed up Chelsea's first-half performance.

He said: "I was not concerned but it is strange when your player arrives late. He had some [coronavirus] passport issues. It was like this in the first half. We were there but not fully there. I was glad we were able to overcome these situations.

"We are competitive and we want to be competitive. It is no excuse to say we are not ready. We want to produce results and we can. It's what we want at the club.

"We want to win. We are competitive in this level to win already but we still have things to improve. The first half was proof of that.

"It's good to have these hard situations now and to overcome them. We are able to produce deserved wins so it's a good basis to keep on going."

Thomas Tuchel expected Harry Kane to sign for Manchester City before the transfer window closed but finds it "nice" that the striker ended up staying at Tottenham.  

Blues boss Tuchel stated late last season that he would relish the chance to work with Kane as speculation over the England captain's future rumbled on.  

Kane opted to remain at Spurs after it had appeared the prolific striker would be on his way to Premier League champions City at one stage, while Chelsea smashed their transfer record to bring back Romelu Lukaku. 

Chelsea travel to Tottenham for a London derby on Sunday and, ahead of the fixture, Tuchel made clear how he never pushed for Kane's arrival at Stamford Bridge. 

Asked how far down the line the European champions got in making a move for the player, the Chelsea boss replied: "I never had a list with his name and I never went to Marina [Granovskaia, Chelsea director] to tell her to buy him.  

"But I think the club sorted out the situations. There are many people around players; there are agents and advisors and people in between, so we had some information from these people, but it was never that close that we had to experience the rivalry.  

"We know about the rivalry, but I have a feeling it was never that far."

Tuchel says he would not have been worried if Kane had ended up joining City, as Chelsea do not fear any of their rivals in the Premier League. 

"I thought that it was going to happen [Kane joining City] and I was not scared, but if it would have happened, I would have been very interested how it would have maybe changed City's style of play," said the German. 

"We are not afraid of anybody; we accept any other team. Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool, they are the teams with strong, strong squads and these are the guys [such as Kane] you want to compete and it's normal they fight for the best players. 

"I thought this was going to happen. On one side, I was happy he stayed because it's nice it exists in football that players play for one club only. 

"I have absolutely nothing to do with Tottenham obviously, but if you think about Tottenham you think about Harry Kane, if you think about [Lionel] Messi you think straight away about Barcelona. 

"It's very hard that he plays for another club and that's the same with Harry Kane. From that side I like it and part of my personality is still a fan, so from that point I like it and I also think it's nice that Romelu is back at Chelsea. Some things are a good fit and should not be changed." 

Thomas Tuchel is "relaxed" over Antonio Rudiger's future amid reports the defender could leave Chelsea as a free agent at the end of the season.

Rudiger's contract expires next June and the centre-back has been linked with the likes of Real Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain and Bayern Munich.

The Germany international has thrived under compatriot Tuchel, with standout performances including a commanding display in the Champions League final victory over Manchester City in May.

Blues head coach Tuchel is hopeful Rudiger will remain at Stamford Bridge, but knows there are no guarantees he will stay with the European champions.

He said in a press conference ahead of Sunday's London derby at Tottenham: "I hope they find solutions but it's not only between coaches and players. It's between the club, the players and the agent. We hope they find a solution.

"He plays excellent, he's been very consistent for a long time at a very high level. He's very calm, very focused and obviously it's not a distraction [his future] for him. Everything is in place, give the time needed, sometimes it takes a bit longer and sometimes fast.

"No news from my side, I think Antonio feels very, very good at Chelsea. He feels the respect he has from his team-mates and the importance in the team, in the squad.

"That's well deserved, because he delivers. He feels the love from the supporters, he plays in the strongest league in Europe, so not many reasons to change that.

"In the end it's between him and the club and that's in good hands. I'm calm and relaxed and whatever has to happen will happen."

Tuchel revealed that N'Golo Kante is available to return at Spurs, but Christian Pulisic remains sidelined with an ankle injury.

Chelsea are second in the top flight and beat Zenit 1-0 in the Champions League on Tuesday, but Tuchel says there is plenty more to come.

Asked if he feels his side had not been at their best, the German said: "Yeah but I didn't expect us to be at our top level early in September, especially after this pre-season and COVID.

"For me at the moment, it is more important that we are competitive, we play relentlessly and have belief to overcome difficult minutes and periods within games.

"Aston Villa played at their top level, this is what we have to accept and respect. Competition is high. It is a good thing that we are able to win."

Chelsea have won their past two Premier League away games against Tottenham, as many as in their previous 13 visits.

Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel lauded "world class" Romelu Lukaku and praised the star's off-field impact after leading the Champions League holders past Zenit 1-0.

Lukaku was the difference on Tuesday, scoring his first Champions League goal for Chelsea, who opened their title defence with a hard-fought victory at Stamford Bridge.

After scoring a brace against Aston Villa in the Premier League on Saturday, club-record signing Lukaku backed that up with a towering 69th-minute header against the Russian champions in Group H.

Lukaku has scored four goals since arriving from Serie A champions Inter and Tuchel hailed the in-form Belgium international.

"The performance of Romelu was not easy. We didn't create many chances for him, we did not create many deliveries. But he's the type of guy who doesn't lose confidence and belief. And that is why he is here and makes him a world-class striker," Tuchel said during his post-match news conference.

"You don't find many strikers of that quality and the guys who are there to score regularly for their teams are so, so important. There are not many goals in football and goals change the momentum of the match. It gives the whole team a lot of belief that maybe one half chance, one chance is enough for him to score.

"It's not the only talent he brings, he brings belief, he himself has the belief and he takes the pressure off the shoulders of other guys around him. He has the personality not to be impatient or lose confidence. He does what he does at a very high level and we are very happy he’s with us. There are a lot of reasons we are maybe not at our top level at the moment. But right now with pre-season, new guys coming in, international breaks, and so on, I am happy with how we play and find us very competitive. We know how to handle difficulties during matches and today I liked what I have seen on the sideline because I felt the energy and the effort.

" They are a strong opponent and we have accepted and respect that. It was a tough [Aston] Villa team at the weekend and a tough Zenit team today. They changed their line-ups, their mentality when they arrived when they played us, we need to adapt and find solutions. This is what we do at the moment."

Only Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski (22), Borussia Dortmund sensation Erling Haaland (20) and Manchester United attacker Bruno Fernandes (17) have scored more goals than Lukaku (14) in major European competition since the start of 2019-20.

Lukaku's 14 Champions League goals have come in his last 14 appearances.

Tuchel added: "He was the type of guy we were missing in our team, the profile, but not only for the talent but also for his personality. The guy is a super humble guy, loves football, loves to train, is such a good communicator in the dressing room, and is open to everybody. That creates a certain atmosphere and energy around him within the team that we are proud of and what we want to have because we believe in it.

"The atmosphere and the spirit last year took us very far and it's important we have it again. We have it with Romelu because he loves Chelsea, he knows Chelsea, he knows what this club is all about. As I said, he is not shy to speak out loud that he’s here and to help with his goals. If we miss him for one game, or hopefully not more games, we will try to find different solutions, maybe the style will be different in how we create chances.

"But now we have him and we are very pleased that he can show these things because he gives us belief and everybody around him a lot of confidence. It is the best start for strikers to score, to be decisive. There is no talk, no video of any coach in the world that can have the same impact."

"It feels really good," Lukaku told BT Sport. "I'm really happy with the win. We kept the game under control. We have to keep growing. I think today was a better performance than on the weekend. I'm really happy with the win and really happy with the goal."

Romelu Lukaku's winner showed why Chelsea signed him, according to Thomas Tuchel after his side defeated Zenit 1-0 in their Champions League opener.

Lukaku's first European goal for the Blues proved the difference as they made it 12 group-stage games without defeat on Tuesday.

The Belgium forward now has four goals in three games against Russian opponents and only Robert Lewandowski, Erling Haaland and Bruno Fernandes have scored more than Lukaku's 14 European goals since the start of 2019-20 when he signed for Inter.

Tuchel splashed a club-record fee on the former Manchester United striker but he insisted that performances like this outing justify the transfer.

"It was an excellent header [from Lukaku for the goal], a well-timed cross by [Cesar] Azpilicueta," Tuchel told BT Sport post-match.

"He was brave enough to step up and we had bodies in the box. That's why he [Lukaku] is here. He likes to score and he's decisive for us."

In the history of the competition, only on two out of 28 occasions have the reigning champions lost the opener and no title defender has ever been beaten at home in their first group-stage tie.

Only Manchester City (11) have won more Champions League matches than Chelsea (10) since the start of last season and Tuchel was happy with his side's start to Group H.

"We had to be at our top level," the head coach continued. "I am happy because we had to work a lot. It was not easy. It's tough to perform consistently at that level.

"We expected a tough game because it's the highest competition in Europe and it's the Russian champions. It took us a while to make them tired but I liked what I saw.

"Winning is good for our belief. We are not finished but we are in a good place to improve.

"The first step is done. But there are five more matches to go [in the group stage]."

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